Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Meghan Markle applauded for powerful feminist speech

The Duchess of Sussex spoke on the 125th anniversary of women's right to vote in New Zealand

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks to invited guests during a reception at Government House in Wellington. AFP
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks to invited guests during a reception at Government House in Wellington. AFP

Meghan Markle has been praised for delivering a ‘powerful’ feminist speech and for speaking a few words of Maori while on a royal tour with Prince Harry to New Zealand.

The Duchess of Sussex begun with a Maori greeting, “tēnā koutou katoa” or "hello to you all" and received a round of applause from the crowd.

She then went on to speak of the accomplishments of the women in New Zealand, who campaigned for their right to vote and were the first in the world to achieve it.

These women are “universally admired,” she told the crowd at the Government House in Wellington while standing in front of a portrait of her grandmother-in-law, the Queen.

“Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.”

Her speech came as New Zealand marks the 125th anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in the country.

The Duchess of Sussex, who was born to an African-America mother, then went on to explain how the fight for women’s vote is symbolic of all “members of society who have been marginalised”, whether on account of their “race, gender, ethnicity or orientation.”

"So bravo New Zealand," she said, "for championing this right 125 years ago, for the women who well deserved to have an active voice, an acknowledged vote, and for all of the people that this achievement has paved the way for, globally.

"We all deeply thank you."

She ended the speech by quoting the words of Kate Sheppard, who was one of the most eminent figures of the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand. "All that separates whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome."

Her feminist credentials and commitment to championing gender equality have been championed on the British monarchy’s website. In an effort to make a feminist statement, she also chose to walk unaccompanied part of the way down the aisle of St George's Chapel on her wedding day in May.

Many took to social media to commend the powerful speech.


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Updated: October 28, 2018 09:17 PM